Fratricidal Jihadists: Why Islamists Keep Losing Their Civil Wars
Hafez, Mohammed M.
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Why do Islamists kill each other? In the last three decades, Islamist rebels enmeshed in civil wars have descended into internecine con icts that divided their ranks, alienated their sup- porters, and cost them their bid for power. From the Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, to al-Qaeda in Iraq, to the Islamic State, each of these movements had perfect op- portunities to topple their regimes. Yet, in the midst of civil wars, they turned their guns on fellow rebels, choosing to pursue hegemonic leadership over coalition unity. In fact, they assisted incumbent elites in crisis by handing them the perfect oppor- tunity to divide and conquer their move- ments. What explains this self-defeating behavior?